How to be more confident in work

In this post you’ll find a dew ideas on how to be  more confident in work.

Confidence is one of the most talked about subjects, and wished traits of all time. Live long enough and you’ll find yourself either thanking the fact that you have it, or wishing you did. The reason for this is that most of what matters in life is about appearances. Think of dating for example, where a notch up of confidence could mean the difference between getting the partner of your dreams at this very moment, and settling for less at the end of your life because  when it did matter, you fail to inspire confidence to the people around you. The same applies to getting the job of your dreams, or getting that business opportunity that would change your life completely.  

How to be more confident  in work

Cultivate true confidence

The world we live in encourages everybody to be more confident. The problem with that is that just like “being good”, although we have a vague idea of what’s about, often it is the case that we have no idea of how to implement it. So, it’s easy to fall prey to the idea that in order to become confident one has to fake it till it makes it, and one day, the Gods of self-confidence, and possibly even self-esteem will descend upon us. When taken for long enough this approach tends to work, all due to the fact that the human brain can be made to believe, and behave as if what it’s told to believe in is true.

That’s how we get people who have absolutely no reason, or true motive to be confident about, but that still are nonetheless. I’m talking about people who have achieved nothing of substance in their lives, and walk through earth, as the old expression goes: “like they’re God’s gift to earth”. The problem with this kind of confidence is that it either is as fragile as a house of cards, subject to be destroyed when under scrutiny, or unhealthily stable, just like a muscle built on an unhealthy diet. For the later, the goal is attained, but the big picture point is completely missed. The person becomes unshakable confident, but the way it goes about being confident as counter intuitive as it might be, becomes limiting in other areas that matter more, specially work. The reason for this is that if you cultivate work confidence through belief and belief only, your flaws, when you do make them force you to reject the idea that you’re as great as you are. If your sense of belief in yourself is stable, then the only thing to reject is the idea that you’re not as good as you think, even if that’s true.

In the end of the day, we all have an intuitive idea of what we have to do to get what we want, and yet, the urge to succumb to trendy, quick and painless solutions remains too great to resist. If confidence in work is what you seek, there is only one true way, and that is: mastery. Mastery of your subject as a whole, from the inside out, and including the smallest of its pieces. The way is to know everything there is to know about your work, and how to do it the best way it can possibly be done. The standards, the rules, and a clear idea of what the words “perfection” or “beauty” mean in the context of your work. We all know this, and the reason why only a few do it is because although an easy idea to grasp, the same can’t be said about the moments of actually doing the work.  

Learn from  more experienced people

The way to become more confident in anything in life, work included is simple. The way is to get better at it. The way is to know more about your work than the majority of people. The way is to, as the book “So good the can’t Ignore you” teaches us is to, well… be so good they can’t ignore you. The problem of mastery is that most people don’t think of it as the source of most if not all of their problems. We complain we’re not good at sales, getting dates, friendships, but instead of blaming it to our lack of mastery on those specific fields, we attribute it to some lack of gift. When asked what we mean by gift, we eventually resort to a fuzzy definition of what that means, and in general, when someone gives fuzzy explanations or fuzzy definitions, chances are that they don’t know what they’re talking about, at least not enough to have the right to talk about it with confidence. Again, deep down we know what we have to do to get what we want, and the sad thing about it is that it all tends to be difficult in general.

When it comes to mastering a field, there is the very popular 10,000 hours you’re probably aware of, but what most people fail to address is the way you go about mastering the subject in question. Do you read? Do you mentor? Do you go about it through trial and error? Taking a superficial look at all of these, one can easily, and incorrectly conclude that any of them would do. The truth is that the way you go about mastering the subject can speed up/slow down the time it takes for you to become proficient enough to be truly confident when you go about doing it. As it turns out, learning from mentors is one of the most effective ways to learn how to get better at anything. The reason for this is simple: assuming that the mentor you chose is a master him/herself, chances are that they know the areas within the subject you should focus on to master it the quickest. This is ignoring the fact that the  if you rely on books, you need to know which books to read the first to learn the most. A mentor can direct you to the right books, in the context of your current learning stage/mastery phase.

So, overall mentoring under a master is the quickest way to attain mastery yourself, and as a result also gain the level of true confidence at work you’ve always looked for. The second best way to attain mastery is by knowing what you’re learning style is. Some people learn better through audio, some through printed text, some through video lectures, and on, and on. Signing up for the kind of content you’re the least effective at, is just another in the many ways of slowing down your mastery journey.

Remain a student

In the context of mastery, because the idea tends to be fuzzy to define, it’s easy to think you have attained it when you get the first taste of proficiency. You get good at it, and immediately assume/feel as if you know everything there is to know. We’ve all been through something like that, specially if the subject in question is something we’re naturally inclined to. You’re born with a great voice, greater than most people you know, everybody tells you about it, and suddenly the desire to practice vanishes. You wonder why you need to do it when you have the gifts you have, and if you stay on that frame of mind for long enough, you’re eventually surpassed by the ones to whom “the gift” never came easily.

The point of this point is to keep learning regardless of how much you think  you know. This is easier said than done, but it’s definitely a very important thing to keep track of. At the beginning of your journey you hate to practice because you know you know nothing, and you feel awkward about it. Further down the road you hate practice because you think you know it all when you know nothing.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

Leave a comment below

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.